HC Deb 21 May 1979 vol 967 cc685-6
13. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has had discussions with the commodity organisations concerning the proposed World Commodities Centre in London; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nott

I am well aware that there are strong arguments for the establishment of such a centre in London, in particular the vast amount of expertise which is concentrated here, but I have not yet had an opportunity to discuss the matter with the commodity organisations concerned.

Mr. Knox

I understand my right hon. Friend's reluctance to commit himself at this early stage, but is he aware that the previous Government supported in principle the establishment of a world commodity centre in London? As the matter is urgent, will my right hon. Friend give it urgent consideration and come to a conclusion in favour of it?

Mr. Nott

I have already given the matter a great deal of consideration and when my right hon. Friend the Minister of State goes to Manila he will raise the matter there. London has a great deal to offer as a commodity centre, and I shall get together as soon as I can with commodity organisations to discuss the matter. We must try to find a way of making such a centre self-financing, without resort to the Exchequer, but, like my hon. Friend, I am keen on the idea and would like to see such a centre in London.

Mr. Hooley

If the common fund is created by UNCTAD V, will the right hon. Gentleman press for its headquarters to be located in London?

Mr. Nott

I have just answered that question.